GMR Airports Limited, a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure Limited has announced it has achieved the Concession Commencement Date (CCD) for design, construction, financing, operation, and maintenance of new international airport of Heraklion at Crete, Greece.

Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis laid the foundation stone of the airport, marking the beginning of the project.

GMR Airports Limited (GAL) along with its Greek partner GEK TERNA signed the concession pact in February 2019 for Design, Construction, Financing, Operation and Maintenance and Exploitation of the new international airport of Heraklion.

Project funding

The Concession Period for the project is 35 years including Phase 1 Construction of 5 years. The consortium intends to invest over €500 million for development of the new airport. The project is funded through support of Government grant and would not require any debt. The entire project will be funded through a mix of equity, accruals from the existing airport, and financial grant being provided by the Government of Greece.

Greece is one of the leading international tourist destinations, attracting nearly 33 million tourists per annum. Crete is the largest and most visited island in Greece. Heraklion airport, located in Crete, is the 2nd largest airport in Greece and has registered a traffic growth of 10 per cent CAGR over the past 3 years. The current airport is facing a severe capacity constraint and will be replaced by the new airport at Kastelli.

First operator

Srinivas Bommidala, Chairman, Energy and International Airports, GMR Group, said: “GMR is the first Indian airport operator to win bid to operate a European airport and also GMR Group’s first foray in the EU region. Along with our partner GEK Terna, we aim to deliver an airport of global standards which would be a matter of pride for Greece.”

GAL is a global airport developer and operator with a portfolio of five airports including airports in New Delhi, Hyderabad, Mactan Cebu International Airport in partnership with Megawide in The Philippines. GAL is developing a greenfield airport at Mopa in Goa. GMR’s new terminal at Mactan-Cebu airport has turned around the passenger traffic, giving a boost to the tourism. The new airport at Crete will help GMR Airports to expand its footprint in the European Union.